Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj, a name that rings bells in the hearts of crores of Indians. He remains arguably one of the greatest figures in the Nation’s history. Stories of his life form an integral part of the upbringing and identity of Indian people. Further, he is also recognized as a warrior legend, who sowed the seeds of Indian independence. From historians to contemporary kings around him, he is respected as one of the finest warriors and eminent leader. Swami Vivekananda had great respect for Shivaji and wrote about him, “Shivaji is one of the greatest national saviours who emancipated our society and our Hindu dharma when they were faced with the threat of total destruction. He was a peerless hero, a pious and God-fearing king and verily a manifestation of all the virtues of a born leader of men described in our ancient scriptures. He also embodied the deathless spirit of our land and stood as the light of hope for our future.”
Rabindranath Tagore wrote in his famous poem “Shivaji”:
In what far-off country, upon what obscure day
I know not now,
Seated in the gloom of some Mahratta mountain-wood
O King Shivaji,
Lighting thy brow, like a lightning flash,
This thought descended,
“Into one virtuous rule, this divided broken distracted India,
I shall bind.”
Even English Historian Field-Marshal Montgomery, while generally dismissive of the quality of generalship in the military history of the Indian subcontinent, makes an exception for Shivaji. He says Shivaji had a “mastery of guerilla tactics” and was a “military genius”.
Girls in K'taka college dance 2 patriotic song w/ Saffron flag!
Seculars call obscene!
Let's support youth so they proud 2 say
"I AM HINDU" pic.twitter.com/Xepq459ZB5
— Girish Alva (@girishalva) October 9, 2017
But today celebrating the legacy of Shivaji is considered Communal! The NCC and NSS students of Shimoga Government College danced holding a flag with Sivaji’s face on it. That is all that happened. A TV channel which has criticized the students of holding a “Shivaji flag” and spreading “Saffron agenda”. Another Facebook page called it vulgarity.
The news channel and the Facebook page have damaged the sentiments of millions of Indians who share an emotional bond with Shivaji and his legacy. Shivaji is not limited to a political party. National defense academy has Shivaji statue in its premises in Pune, Indian Navy has named its Ship after him, The Mumbai International airport and the Mumbai railway station is named after Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj because he is a national hero beyond a party, culture, religion or state. He is an inspiration for many and his stories give goosebumps to crores of people who idealize him.
The news channels and Facebook pages which have no shame in supporting the Government when it sponsors the celebration of Tipu Jayanti statewide, create ruckus of the students celebrating the spirits of Shivaji. A national hero is not to be limited to a party or an ideology for any reason. All the perpetuators of such hatemongering and misleading news are to be tried and brought to justice.